Obama Wins Wisconsin!

Obama Wins! (Boston Globe):

MILWAUKEE — Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in today’s Wisconsin primary, showing a broad reach across Democratic constituencies, including many — such as women, lower-income families, and union households — that had been strongholds for Clinton in previous contests.

His opponents respond:

Obama’s projected victory, his ninth in a row, was quickly answered with twin attacks from opponents in both parties. John McCain, who declared that he will be the Republican nominee after beating Mike Huckabee in Wisconsin, dismissed Obama’s message as ‘‘an eloquent but empty call for change,’’

That’s it?  The man has policy proposals off into the sunset!  Is McCain that stumped for something clever and apt to say?

while Clinton launched her most aggressive critique yet on his preparedness for the presidency.

‘‘One of us is ready to be commander in chief in a dangerous world,’’ Clinton said at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio.

Oooh.  “They world is scary and mean, vote for me!”.  Next week Deval Patrick and Barack Obama will find out that McCain and Hillary share and advisor, and we can have another faux outrage fest.  Come on now, who’s excited?


Texas Minister: Murder and False Idols

A Minister turned himself in for a murder he committed 14 years ago, and the reactions from the community are striking (CNN, Hat tip to Sally Jane Beaufort):

The youth minister who confessed to a 1994 killing is being widely forgiven by members of his former congregation, who say they admire his courage in finally surrendering to police.

Calvin Wayne Inman, 29, confessed to a slaying he committed nearly 14 years ago, police say.

Calvin Wayne Inman, 29, remains jailed without bail since he was charged Wednesday with capital murder in the stabbing death of a convenience store clerk during a robbery. He was 16 at the time.

On approach, you do have to admire the courage it takes to turn yourself in for a crime you essentially got away with. Especially when the crime carries such significant consequences. But some of his flock want to erase those consequences (emphasis mine):

He’s a hero, really,” said Kelley Graham, 24. “I don’t know how many people would do what he did. The Bible says you just need to confess to God. Calvin took an extra step.”

“The debt he’s paying to our society is teaching our young people to do the right thing,” said Cheryl Ellis, a member of the church’s youth staff. “To lock him away someplace and say he owes it to society is robbing the next generation of a mentor.”

Robin Thac said her 17-year-old son was active in the youth group that Inman led.

I am thrilled my son has a role model to accept responsibility the way Calvin has,” Thac said. “There are way too many men who don’t accept responsibility.”

This is scary stuff.  And a great reason why letting Church run State is a really really bad idea.  How many Christians actually believe in the idea of redemption so strongly they would remove the legal consequences for it?  This reminds me strongly of Amanda’s piece asserting a link between extremist belief and our justice system.

A man who killed another man is not a hero.  He should absolutely not be pardoned.  While any person who turns themselves in ought to see a reasonable leniency and pragmatism applied in their case, to imagine that person utterly skirting responsibility for their crime is really beyond the pale.  This man is not a hero to be worshiped.  He is a murderer who needs help and deserves punishment, and who finally found the courage to ask for it.

More Police Brutality

More silence from the candidates.  Hat tip to reader mdking, who writes:

ABC has another. See for yourself.


She fell. Police say that’s how Angela Garbarino ended up with two black eyes, two broken teeth, a broken nose, and multiple bruises around her head, neck, and shoulders.

Here is the video:

Note: The video description cites the fair use section of US Copyright law.  It will be interesting to see if youtube removes this video as it has for another recent and controversial piece of evidence of police brutality.

mdking has more:

She was arrested in Shreveport, Louisiana in November of 2007 on suspicion of drunk driving. The video shows her with former Officer Wiley Willis. She is not particularly cooperative. He shuts off the camera. The camera comes back on; she’s on the floor pummeled and in a pool of her own blood.

He was fired. No criminal charges. Well, she’s charged.

While the video is rolling, we clearly see the officer slam her into the wall.  She is then shown hunched over in a chair.  The officer asks “You understand me?” and she replies “Yeah, I understand”.  That’s when he cuts the tape.

The Deft White Supremacist

The inaptly named “Patritoic Activist” put up a post on Obama’s economic stimulus package.  He titled it “Obama bribes voters”.  The actual post was mostly innocuous:

Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday that as president he would spend $210 billion to create jobs in construction and environmental industries, as he tried to win over economically struggling voters.

Obama’s investment would be over 10 years as part of two programs. The larger is $150 billion to create 5 million so-called “green collar” jobs to develop more environmentally friendly energy sources.

Sixty billion would go to a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama estimated that could generate nearly 2 million jobs, many of them in the construction industry that’s been hit by the housing crisis.

No big deal.  One can easily point out that all candidates do the same by proposing, oh say, massive tax cuts our economy cannot support, as Republicans are wont to do.

So the post itself, objectivity (far) aside, appears harmless, save for a graphic (AIPAC for Obama) that links to a white nationalist website.  The Rational Psychic was first out the door taking PA to task for this:

 What are you trying to prove by having this white nationalist link on your page?

PA’s response?

I’m sorry but don’t I understand your question.

Take care,

Yeah, right.  But this guys blog makes for really good reading.  He’s pretty overtly anti-semitic.  But his bigotry towards immigrants is something special:

Originally from the Mexican state of Zacatecas, he’s lived north, in the US, for more than 40 years. He is currently president of the Federation of Zacatecan Associations.

The migrants’ influence comes with the massive amounts of money they send back home.

Despite the relative stagnation of the US economy, this flow of money keeps growing, according to recent data. In 2003 it increased by 35% – the total amount sent that year to Mexico was more than $13bn.

In other words, his point is that the migrants are bleeding an already wounded America dry.  This is a point you might see in the mainstream media.  Its always nice to know your source.

Bigots like PA use a particularly familiar rhetorical strategy.  Pick your target (non white christian males), pick your audience (christian white males), and connect the two via a vulnerability.  As much as possible, scrape the language clean of overt racism and stick to the meat of the issue, using it as a wedge to push your audience away from your target socially, economically, and politically.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Extra bonus, this guy is running for office in Florida.  Seems he has a political plan for bigots across the nation (St. Petersberg Times, emphasis mine):

“We’re sitting down and we’re waiting to die,” said John Ubele, a 28-year-old Shady Hills resident who calls himself a white separatist and has ties to two groups with similar views, the National Alliance and the National Vanguard. “We’re waiting to be wiped out.”

A stranger who ran into Ubele at a party might never discover his extremism. He is clean-cut and soft-spoken with no visible piercings or tattoos. He repairs windows for a living and likes his pancakes with butter-pecan syrup.

While he may not fit the profile of a political firebrand, Ubele has grand ambitions and a nationwide strategy.

If he can win a seat on the three-member Mosquito Control Board in the Nov. 7 general election – and the competition is stiff, partly because board members get $400 a month for attending just one meeting – Ubele wants to ride his political capital to the County Commission and perhaps the Governor’s Mansion after that.

There’s more. Ubele is using the Internet to mobilize other white separatists to run for office around the United States.

“Let’s make 2006 the year we explode onto the political scene,” he wrote on the Web site of the National Vanguard’s Tampa chapter. “Every other race has politicians in office which represent their interests. It’s time we have politicians to represent ours.”

The trouble for people like Ubele is that their bigotry and hatred comes seething out in the end no matter how skillfully they hide their ethical and intellectual failure, and its never pretty to watch.

Obama, Patrick and the Concern Trolls

Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Fox News, CNN, the Boston Herald, US News, the LA Times and other news organizations are going nuts over this.  Obama the untouchable?  Plagiarizing?  Oh its too good!

Only it isn’t true.

Deval Patrick and Barack Obama have acknowledged working together on their strategy and their speeches, and in fact share a common advisor.

This isn’t news.  Its uncritically repeating the baseless claim of a desperate Clinton campaign.  News organizations should be more diligent in their reporting.

Not that the facts are stopping idiots from weighing in:

“It certainly goes in the face of his squeaky-clean image,” said Republican strategist Holly Robichaud, who writes a weekly blog for the Herald. “It is clear he used the same words – there is no question about it. It will hurt him, but maybe not enough for him to lose ground.”

How will two successful politicians working together on an effective rhetorical strategy hurt Obama?

The critics who have jumped on this have shown they clearly lack a fundamental understanding of politics and rhetoric (Taylor Marsh):

During a conference call this morning, Howard Wolfson had this to say. Via Mark Halperin:

“If you’re going to be talking about the value of words, the words ought to be your own.” – Howard Wolfson

Rhetorical flourishes are inspiring, especially when they’re authentic. The problem comes when they’re canned. Jake Tapper has a good run down on Obama’s convenient oratory. It would be one thing if they came from the heart, or if what he was saying was actually original. Unfortunately, they don’t and they aren’t. They’ve all been said before. “Yes, we can reuse slogans!” says Ben Smith. “You bet your life we can,” quips Deval Patrick. Si Se Puede. The word bamboozled comes to mind.

Words that have meaning do not lose that meaning upon repetition.  If anything, repetition serves to validate and strengthen the power of words.  How ironic to miss that point, when the speech in question is about precisely that: the transcendent power of words to inspire, move, and change the world.

Wholesome Bible Pee!

This made me laugh so hard I actually squeaked. The ending is glorious (via Eugene Cho):

Apparently the Germans are Godless for prohibiting men from standing whilst peeing. And if we don’t watch it, this country could descend into utter mayhem (Our President probably pisses sitting down. That pee-fiend!). You see my friends, that’s what’s wrong with America.

Being a man is all about pissing on the wall. So get out there patriotic men. Unzip and pee on the wall. For America $*#dammit!